Gorilla Permit Booking

Gorilla permit booking for anyone planning to see gorillas should be the first thing to consider before anything else. The fact that people get to know about Mountain gorillas before even knowing about Uganda or Rwanda is proof enough that this is a popular activity and it is undeniable that an African Safari is never complete without a trip to the mountain gorillas. Big Apes Africa is here to avail you with any kind of information about gorilla permit booking to be sure that your gorilla tour in Uganda or Rwanda is guaranteed.

With a gorilla permit, you can be sure to trek gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Rwanda’s Volcanf““oes National park and Congo.

What makes gorilla tracking popular makes it highly competitive for one to acquire a gorilla permit mostly in the months of June, July, August, September, December, January and February. Before COVID19 outbreak, gorilla permits would be sold out even four months in certain sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Uganda wildlife Authority is responsible for the issuance of gorilla permit at face and any traveler can purchase the permit directly from the here or ride on the experience of a licensed tour operator to process the permit on their behalf.

Big Apes Africa ensures that your gorilla permit is booked in time and even for the last minute gorilla safari.

What is a Gorilla Permit?

A gorilla permit is an electronic card or document issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority or Rwanda Development Board that allows any traveler above 15yrs of age to trek mountain gorillas in either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda or Volcanoes National park in Rwanda.

The gorilla permit allows you access to the National park for gorilla tracking or a nature walk for that particular day in Uganda. You are also entitled to park ranger guide and two armed rangers for your jungle security mostly to scare away wild animals.

What is Gorilla Trekking?

Gorilla trekking is activity of walking on foot in the rainforest jungles of Virunga mountains slopes in search of mountain gorillas. Habituated gorilla groups are available for tourists and these are the main target but you never rule out the chance of coming across wild gorillas.

When you have found the gorilla family of your target, your acquired gorilla trekking permit will allow you one hour in their presence. However, the gorilla trekking time can go approximately from 15 minutes to 6hours to find the assigned Gorilla family. Please note that the typical time to find gorillas is between 1-2 hours.

For any reasonably fit person, gorilla tracking should not be a serious physical challenge however it important to consider that gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National park takes place on altitudes between 1,400-2,000m except for the Virungas where it goes even up to 3,000m.

How much is a Gorilla Permit in Uganda?

For every gorilla permit in Uganda, one has to part with USD700 per person per trek. A permit for foreign residents with work permits costs $600 and EAC nationals cost Ugx.250,000 per person. And the minimum age for a permit is 15years old.

Important to note is that for the months of April, May and November, Gorilla trekking permits are issued with discounts in Bwindi Impenetrable National park and Mgahinga National park as shown below;

  • FNR/Foreign Non Resident –$450
  • FR/Foreign Resident –$400
  • National/EAC –Ugx. 150.000

Please check out our discounted gorilla permit prices

How much is a Gorilla Permit in Rwanda?

  • For every gorilla permit in Rwanda, one has to part with USD1, 500 per person per trek however, there are Special Gorilla tracking permit offers in Volcanoes National Park as broken down below
  • Tourists (Non-African citizens) travelling in a group of 100 and more – a promotional rate of $500 will be applied for mountain gorilla trekking
  • Foreign residents –$500
  • National EAC — $200
  • Corporate/Organizations – 10% on bulk purchases from 30permits.
  • Families – 15% discount for family visits (couple and children over 15years old).
  • African Citizens – a promotional %50 will be applied for mountain gorilla trekking

How many Gorilla Permits are available in Uganda?

There are 20 gorilla groups available for tourism in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. Only 8 tourists can trek a single gorilla group per day which means 8 gorilla permits are available for purchase for each gorilla group per day. Therefore a total number of 160 gorilla permits are available in Uganda.

In peak seasons of June, July, August, September, December, January and February, gorilla permits are highly competitive so we strongly recommend that gorilla trekkers book their gorilla permits 3-4 months prior to your gorilla tour date. As tourism picks up again, it will even be better to book above six months in advance. This does not mean that special cases in line with last minute gorilla permits in Uganda cannot be handled. This is what we do best!

Basing on our working relationship with Uganda Wildlife Authority, we can book gorilla permits for your trip when you contact us. It is also possible to book your own gorilla permit if you know you are familiar with the bureaucracy of government agencies. You would only need your passport and the date of travel.

How are Gorilla Permits allocated­?

Gorilla permits in Uganda are distributed basing on availability and on first come first serve basis in the four tourism sectors of Bwindi Impenetrable national park and the fifth in Mgahinga National park in Uganda. Each of these sector/trailheads has a certain number of habituated gorilla families.

Trailheads in Bwindi forest are Buhoma in the North, Ruhija in the East. Nkuringo in the south and Rushaga in the Southwest.

After you have been allocated a group in one of the sectors, it is important to note that your gorilla permit is not transferrable to a different sector.

What happens when the Gorilla Permit expires or you don’t see the Gorillas?

In case your gorilla permit expires before trekking the mountain gorillas, you will forfeit the gorilla activity though there are exceptions to this. For example, the gorilla permit owner or the tour operator on behalf of the gorilla permit owner can reschedule the permit to another date, up to a week before the tracking date. UWA does not permit any reschedule after the permit has expired.

Uganda Wildlife Authority allows only two permit reschedules within a period of up to December 2022. However a third reschedule will need express approval from the Executive Director and incurs 25% penalty. A person booking a gorilla permit is also allowed to reschedule a permit that is partly paid. However for a second reschedule, you should have a fully paid permit.

Rescheduling of discounted permits is only possible within the promotional period. Therefore when rescheduling to a time after the promotional period, the booker is required to top up the fee at the prevailing non-discount rates. You can actually book a gorilla permit in Uganda for more than 2years ahead of the tracking time and pay at least a 30% deposit of the permit price reservation time. The balance should be paid less than 90 days before the trekking date. If you fail to clear the balance, you will lose the 30% deposit, and the permit is cancelled.

Suppose it happens that you track the gorillas and fail to find them. In that case the Executive Director may reschedule the permit the following day, subject to the availability. Where there is no space for rescheduling the permit, the Executive Director shall authorize and a refund of 50% of the permit value upon certification /confirmation of the inability to access gorillas by the respective Chief Warden/ Warden in Charge.

Gorilla Permit Cancellation Policy:

For any Visitor intending to cancel his/her gorilla trekking permit, a request to do so within eight (8) days to the tracking date shall attract no refunds from UWA.

Should he/she request for cancellation of a permit fall between nine (09) to forty five (45) days to the tracking date, he/she will be entitled to 25% of the permit value.

For a request to cancel a permit between forty-six (46) to ninety (90) days, he/she will be entitled to 50% of the permit value.

For a request to cancel a permit in a period ninety one (91) days and more to the tracking date he/she will be entitled to 70% of the permit value.

Please Remember

Acquiring a permit can be bureaucratic and challenging to guests intending to do it alone but a tour operator on ground can make your life easy by handling the process on your behalf. Big Apes Africa is licensed travel agency and will help you book gorilla tracking permits in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC while you go on about other business that may mean much to you and save time. We are happy and ready to handle your last minute gorilla permits in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC. Just Contact Us.


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